Moab Rim

By Jamie Bernstein

How did time pass
Before time was kept:
Did seconds make
The same chain gang trudge –
Was one chill dawn distinct
From any other -- or did
All the collossal forces
Surge and buckle
Slurry and chafe
In one measureless paroxysm, arriving
At this human blink?

Now about these rocks:
They're too old too massive just too red
To permit in their presence
Any lucid inquiry
Of origin.
The learned explanations –
Erosion, tetctonics, cataleptic epochs
Of squeeze and thaw –
Are no more or less plausible
Than the hand-swipe
Of a Creator. I gaze
But get nowhere:
I will never have been there.

I could plot my puny decades
On a map of scrambles up these walls:
Annual attempts
To clasp rigor to flux,
Stitch upthrashed earth
To a sky that never stays put.
But mine's a blunt instrument,
This withering bag of juice I move in;
My cardboard Kodak from the pharmacy
Has more finesse.

As for why the eons paused at all
To accommodate the dim vision
Of a brace of bipeds, well,
We'll be gone soon enough
By the rocks' reckoning –
Their indifference to us so immense
It may as well be love.

PoetryJamie Bernstein